Fired Wash. officer denies using cocaine
Former Seattle cop, Powers is fighting to get his job back
By HECTOR CASTRO
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Copyright 2006 Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Former Seattle police Officer John C. Powers on Wednesday adamantly denied ever taking cocaine, whether as a civilian or a cop.
Powers, 45, had been a Seattle police officer for eight years when he was fired late last year. He had been investigated for a number of alleged incidents of misconduct, eight of them sustained.
But Wednesday, in a hearing before the city's Public Safety Civil Service Commission, Powers was asked by his attorney whether he had ever used drugs while he was an officer.
"Never," he replied.
Powers was the subject of a criminal investigation by the FBI's Public Integrity Task Force that began in 2001 and was not completed until early 2005. A secret inquiry court in King County reviewed his case. No criminal charges were ever filed.
But an investigation by the Office of Professional Accountability found reason to sustain several of the allegations against him, and Chief Gil Kerlikowske ultimately fired the officer.
Powers is fighting to get his job back.
In testimony before the three-member panel, Powers tried to show that the investigation against him was flawed. He said several of his old friends were not contacted by investigators and the one who was denied ever seeing Powers use drugs.
He suggested that data investigators used against him, such as telephone records, were inaccurate, that some of his supervisors were never interviewed and that testimony from his former wife alleging drug use was false.
Powers pointed out that he passed the background checks before he was hired by Seattle police and a previous background check when he took a job some years ago with a defense contractor in California.
Powers admitted that his ex-wife suspected he was using drugs, but testified that he twice took drug tests to show her he was not using.
The former officer, who frequently worked off-duty in Belltown in uniform to provide security, testified he rarely went into the clubs and denied ever permitting criminal activity to take place.
He admitted giving rides to a girlfriend to her apartment in West Seattle while he was married, but said he stopped doing so after a partner informed him that a GPS tracking device had been found on his patrol car.
Powers has called a number of witnesses, and his appeal is expected to last into next week.
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